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A black high school basketball player walked into a locker room to see a drawing of a stick figure on a noose with his name

Just before two rival West Virginia high school basketball teams were about to face off, an African American player walked into the guest locker room and found a disturbing image on the board.

It was a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a noose. The face was colored in, and an arrow pointing to the figure was labeled “Jace” — a clear reference to Jace Colucci, the only black student on the Westside High School team.

Wyoming County Schools, the district where the incident occurred, said in a statement to CNN that the investigation has been turned over to the West Virginia state police.

“These drawings and their origin will be investigated, thoroughly, and any necessary action will be taken,” superintendent Deirdre Cline wrote.

Friday’s incident was not the first time that Jace, 17, has been targeted for his race, his mother, Erica Colucci Ayers told CNN. She refers to her son as black and biracial.

Last year, she said she was alerted to a video that had been posted on Snapchat in which students from another high school seemed to be saying “hang Jace.” She said the school district told her it had investigated the incident and that the students involved were disciplined.

Attorney Sean W. Cook, who is representing the family through Warner Law Offices, wrote in an email to CNN that the school district did not share the findings of that investigation with the family, nor did they identify who the students were and what disciplinary measures had been taken.

Things escalated Friday and ended up further embarrassing and humiliating her son, Ayers said.

“They crossed the line with the noose,” Ayers said. “That is a threat on his life. It is a hate crime. They took the time to color the face in on the stick figure.”

Jace went on to play in the game, and his mother told CNN affiliate WVVA that he played “with his head held high.”

Ayers said she filed a complaint with Wyoming East High School, where the drawing was found. She also said she reached out to the state trooper’s office and the Wyoming County prosecutor, and her lawyer said he is investigating all options under federal and state law.

“I want justice for my son,” Ayers said.

Wyoming County assistant prosecuting attorney Sante Boninsegna told CNN the office is investigating a potential crime and did not have any further information to release.

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